MADE is a paid partnership with Little Lake County.
Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Elisabeth Hubbard. Elisabeth is the Owner of FunFlector, with an office and showroom (by appointment) in Libertyville.
FunFlector provides fashion-forward reflectors off your clothes and bags that allow pedestrians to be seen in the dark by drivers. The reflectors are perfect for children and adults who enjoy being outdoors.
What was the catalyst that started your business?
I wanted to start a business and was looking for something that I could afford to launch. I noticed the high school kids crossing the highway early winter mornings dressed in black from top to toe and was surprised that no one here knew about pedestrian reflectors. I moved here from Sweden in 2007 and there most people wear reflectors on coats, bags, and strollers to prevent pedestrian accidents from dusk to dawn.
How did you come up with the name?
I envisioned a safety product that was not only useful, but also fun to wear, so I came up with Funflector (fun reflector) and googled it. There was not one single hit. That’s when I knew I had a unique name!
How long have you been in business?
Almost 4 years
Has it been difficult to get your business up and running, while being a stay-at-home mom, managing a household, etc?
Of course, a business would grow faster if I could focus solely on work for 8-9 hours a day, but I like the flexibility to switch between family and work. We go with the Montessori philosophy to help the kids help themselves. Home is not a hotel where everything magically appears. They have made their own breakfast and afternoon snacks on a regular basis since they were five or six and now our 11-year-olds can get out of bed and off to school on their own if I need to sleep in.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I don’t need to ask for permission for anything – I can create products and marketing material or make deals or travel plans just the way I’d like them.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
We work with a network of manufacturers, designers, printers, etc. and I need to be much more involved in checking the quality at every step than what I’m used to from Europe.
What do you do to recharge?
Hang out with friends or take a walk! I’m very lucky to have nice walking paths close by as well as being within walking distance of downtown Libertyville.
What is your inspiration?
#1 20% of American kids go hungry. My ultimate goal is to grow to be able to employ struggling parents, treat them with dignity and pay them a decent salary so they can give their kids a brighter future. We have moved manufacturing of our reflectors from Sweden to the US as a first step to put Americans to work.
#2 I’ve always been interested in design, colors, and shapes. This is a fun way to put both my creative and analytical abilities to work. I often bring my camera along to capture items, colors, or patterns that can be input to new reflector designs. It is a luxury to do that for work!
What is the most important thing you want our readers to know?
In the Scandinavian countries, where reflectors are common, there are fewer accidents at night even if they walk more. No one likes the ER, co-pays, and sometimes lifelong suffering. For under $10, funflector reflectors make it fun to be bright when it’s dark!
Disclosure: Funflectoris our featured Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. If you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our series please contact us.